Director Kenny Ortega Pulls a Zac Efron, Leaves "Footloose" Remake 


Much like his original chosen star, Zac Efron, director Kenny Ortega is no longer putting on his dancing shoes for "Footloose."

Efron quit the production, then replaced by Chace Crawford, now, Ortega has left the film! DRAMA!

All this drama is heightened by the fact that Ortega directed the expected-to-be-huge Michael Jackson concert film, "This is It."

Paramount is in search of a new director, and the studio insists that production will still begin in March when Crawford's on hiatus from "Gossip Girl." "Dancing with the Stars" dancer and part-time country singer, Julianne Hough, is set to co-star.

So why did Ortega leave the production?

Well, Paramount said it's because of the budget, while Ortega issued a press statement saying "Coming off the extraordinary project, Michael Jackson's `This is It,' director Kenny Ortega has decided it is premature for him to commit to his next film and will not be moving forward with `Footloose' as previously reported."

But our trusted friends from Variety revealed that Paramount production chief Adam Goodman "wanted an edgier drama with less emphasis on the musical numbers, and a budget around $25 million or less. Paramount has confirmed the budget dispute, but the studio said the budget will be less than $25 million."

Honestly, I side with Paramount on this. If the studio is planning an edgier take on "Footloose," then more power to them! I think, the story, and the original 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, certainly warrant a new, darker take on a parable about a town that banned dancing forever!

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"Mad Max 4" in the Works But Where's Mel Gibson? 


The fourth film in the "Mad Max" franchise, to be called "Fury Road," is set to go into production in Sydney and New South Wales next year.

George Miller will produce the film which by the way, is reportedly going to cost $100 million! Yes, $100 million for a "Mad Max" film, isn't that insane?

But right now, there's no studio backing for the fourth film yet, and Mel Gibson, the original Max, is not attached to the movie.

Say what you will about Gibson, but a "Mad Max" film without him is like having an "Indiana Jones" movie without Harrison Ford.

I also heard that Miller is currently in production on "Happy Feet 2." I enjoyed the first one, here's hoping this one's great.

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New Bond Film to Shoot Next Year? 


If we are to believe the current James Bond, Daniel Craig, then the 23rd 007 film will start shooting late next year.

Craig gave that timeline answer to a fan asking him about production of the next Bond film while exiting the stage door for "A Steady Rain," the Broadway play he's starring with Hugh Jackman.

But MGM had no comment.

This is what we know -- Peter Morgan, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade are writing the script for the new Bond film. Purvis and Wade both worked on "Quantum of Solace" and "Casino Royale."

Morgan, is the brilliant scriptwriter behind "The Queen" and "Frost/Nixon."

There's no director attached to the film yet, so stay tuned...

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"Paranormal Activity" Beats "Saw VI" at Box-Office Fright Fest! 


Jigsaw from the "Saw" franchise was no match to the demon in the center of "Paranormal Activity." The shaky-cam extravaganza has won a weekend fight of fright flicks!

"Paranormal Activity," one of the scariest films of the year, possibly of the last decade, took over the No. 1 spot with $22 million compared to just $14.8 million for "Saw VI."

Maybe you were saying "you saw it already" because the Lionsgate franchise that has been a Halloween fixture for the last few years opened with its weakest performance to date.

The "Saw" franchise's previous low was $18.3 million for the original movie. The following sequels all opened at $30 million or better...at least, until..."Paranormal Activity."

Should we stick a fork in the "Saw" franchise 'cause it's done?

When I spoke with Tobin Bell, the man behind Jigsaw/John, he revealed that there were plans to make "Saw VII" IF "Saw VI" does well. (Check out my interview with Tobin Bell right here)

Now that it failed, the future of the "Saw" franchise is bloody unclear!

"Paranormal Activity," a film that was made for a mere $15,000, has grossed $62.5 million already!

I'M TELLING Y'ALL, IF YOU LOVE SCARY FILMS, GO WATCH "PARANORMAL ACTIVITY" RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW! Sure, it used the "Blair Witch" documentary style, but that's where the comparison ends. "Paranormal Activity" has a strong narrative focus (it even foreshadows the end), and there's a satisfying payoff.

The previous weekend's top flick, "Where the Wild Things Are" fell to No. 3 with $14.4 million. I enjoyed this film as well, director Spike Jonze stayed true to the spirit of Maurice Sendak's beloved book.

Meanwhile, new releases did not fare well. "Astro Boy" opened at No. 6 with $7 million, while Universal's "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant" tanked! Tanked I tell ya!

"Cirque du Freak" came in pre-sold. It's based on a book series. But even the fans of the book ignored this Universal release. YIKES!

(Check out my interviews with "Astro Boy's" Freddie Highmore and Eugene Levy right here)

Fox Searchlight's "Amelia" starring the wonderful Hilary Swank opened at No. 11 with $4 million. Not bad for an independent film about the legendary Amelia Earhart. (Check out my interviews with Hilary Swank and director Mira Nair right here)

Here's the estimated Top 10 Box Office list for weekend of Oct. 23rd:

1. "Paranormal Activity," $22 million.

2. "Saw VI," $14.8 million.

3. "Where the Wild Things Are," $14.4 million.

4. "Law Abiding Citizen," $12.7 million.

5. "Couples Retreat," $11.1 million.

6. "Astro Boy," $7 million.

7. "The Stepfather," $6.5 million.

8. "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant," $6.3 million.

9. "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," $5.6 million.

10. "Zombieland," $4.3 million.


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"Amelia" Movie Review! 


Check out my interviews with Hilary Swank and director Mira Nair right here, otherwise, watch my "Amelia" movie review and have fun!



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